I sat recently with Lindsay Bell from Bell Family, one of New York’s largest in-demand nanny and sitter service, and she confirmed my hunch. It is actually a very big reason many nannies cite when applying to Bell Family; they want to have kids of their own someday. And yes there are plenty of re-assuring words out there about babies not know what to do either, and first time parents should just relax and do what’s natural. But thinking a bit from a dad’s perspective, nannies can learn so much about caregiving before the pressure of working, and making it work, with your own.
First is the structure and routines that nannies can learn and bring to a family. Kids, despite some bickering, actually love it. Likewise, the discipline that needs enforced (my opinion anyways), is an acquired skill and has to be simpatico with the rest of the grown ups beliefs. Creative projects, where we trick kids into learning while enjoying themselves, is a nifty skill. And in many cases, including in my house, schedules and details of running a household get tested, especially with busy work and school schedules. In the early days there is caring for the kids when they can’t themselves; later it’s about mentoring and demonstrating values. There is also an acquired skill of communicating up and down because kids need to get the message, and the parents need to stay in the same page. It takes a little creativity and a lot of discretion.
Deciding if you actually want kids, and they might want you, is imperfect science. But I’m now a big believer that nanny service is a great look at what might be. And when it comes to finding a partner, just know that you are extremely attractive to a sub-set of men, those that want a family and a partner to help run it.
Be a nanny first, because just having a kid does not make you much of a parent. Work does.